Research

Truthers Against Tragedy: How Kremlin Fans Are Trying To Discredit the MH17 Investigation On Twitter

By Vitalii Rybak, for UkraineWorld Russia is using disinfo networks on Twitter to discredit the tribunal prosecuting those accused of being responsible for the MH17 tragedy. This network is also attacking Bellingcat — a research group which has proven Russia’s guilt. When the MH17 court case resumed in June 2020, Russia activated its disinformation network on Twitter. We used Hoaxy, an online tool visualizing the spread of messages online, to study

Americans who rely on social media or word of mouth for news are the least likely to be registered to vote

By Sarah Scire, NiemanLab In 2016, there were more non-voters than voters who cast ballots for either Democrats or Republicans. Who will sit out again this November? A new report exploring the media habits of these non-voters has some answers. The analysis, released by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation as part of their 100 Million Project, found non-voters who describe themselves more attentive to news than sports, entertainment, or other

What Makes Fake News Feel True When It Isn’t? For One Thing, Hearing It Over And Over Again

By Laura Hazard Owen, for NiemanLab “The more often participants had heard a statement, the more likely they were to attribute it to Consumer Reports rather than the National Enquirer.” The growing stream of reporting on and data about fake news, misinformation, partisan content, and news literacy is hard to keep up with. This weekly roundup offers the highlights of what you might have missed. “Crocodiles sleep with their eyes closed”? Just out: The

Exposure to social engagement metrics increases vulnerability to misinformation

By Mihai Avram, Nicholas Micallef, Sameer Patil, Filippo Menczer, for Misinformation Review, Harward Kennedy School News feeds in virtually all social media platforms include engagement metrics, such as the number of times each post is liked and shared. We find that exposure to these signals increases the vulnerability of users to low-credibility information in a simulated social media feed. This finding has important implications for the design of social media

An Army of Trolls Pushing the Russian Narrative on MH17: Who Are They?

By Jan van Dijk and Robert van der Noordaa, for UkraineWorld Co-authors: Valentyna Bykova, Yuriy Diachenko, Valeriy Pan’ko, Ivanna Vlasiuk, Tetiana Hyrina The army of trolls pushing the Russian narrative on MH17 discovered 6 years after the crash. HOW WAS THE ARMY IDENTIFIED? When the MH17 trial began at the beginning of March 2020, Trollrensics collected tweets mentioning MH17 and #MH17. We detected an unusually high number of tweets with articles from zen.yandex.ru. When

A digital media literacy intervention increases discernment between mainstream and false news in the United States and India

By Andrew M. Guess, Michael Lerner, Benjamin Lyons, Jacob M. Montgomery, Brendan Nyhan, Jason Reifler, and Neelanjan Sircar, for PNAS Read PDF here. PNAS first published June 22, 2020 https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.192049811 Edited by David G. Rand, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, and accepted by Editorial Board Member Margaret Levi April 28, 2020 (received for review November 20, 2019) Significance Few people are prepared to effectively navigate the online information environment. This global deficit in digital media literacy has

Four experts investigate how the 5G coronavirus conspiracy theory began

By Wasim Ahmed, Joseph Downing, Marc Tuters, Peter Knight, for The Conversation In times of crisis conspiracy theories can spread as fast as a virus. As the coronavirus pandemic tightened its grip on a world which struggled to comprehend the enormity of the situation it was facing, darker forces were concocting their own narratives. Scientists and researchers were working – and continue to work – around the clock for answers.

New study looks at the role of pro-Kremlin bots in spreading disinformation about COVID-19

By NATO StratCom COE Download publication file (8.83 MB) New quarterly Robotrolling report has been published, delving into the role of pro-Kremlin bots in spreading disinformation about COVID-19 throughout March. In our analysis, we identify striking differences between how bots engaged with COVID-19 in the Russian- and English-language information spaces. Bot activity this quarter fixated on the global COVID-19 pandemic, with conversations about the virus captured by our dataset peaking in March. Pro-Kremlin social

New reports focus on Western Balkan information environment

By NATO StratCom COE We have published three new reports with a focus on Russia’s footprint in the Western Balkan information environment. The scope of analysis is Russia’s activities in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. “Risks and Vulnerabilities in the Western Balkans” (Rufin Zamfir, Global Focus Center) identifies the risks and vulnerabilities hostile actors can exploit to gain influence over countries in the Western Balkan region. Based

Americans struggle to navigate COVID-19 “infodemic”

By JEJeffrey M.Jones, for Knight Foundation The novel coronavirus pandemic has spawned what the World Health Organization is calling an “infodemic,” an overabundance of information — some of it false — about COVID-19. Americans divide evenly over whether it is harder or easier to be well-informed about the coronavirus because of easy access to a wide variety of information sources. Fifty-eight percent believe they are well-informed about the virus. Separately, 36%

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